Horror fans may have noticed something of a trend of late when it comes to the titles of sequels to some of the more venerable franchises.
As exemplified by recent additions to the Halloween and Candyman series, the done thing now seems to be to treat them like a dowager countess at a dinner party and avoid making any direct reference to their age – instead, correct etiquette is to give them the exact same title as the original film, without appending any tell-tale numbers.
It’s a canny (if confusing) ploy, granting the new film extra kudos by suggesting it is the one true successor to the beloved original, thereby deftly sweeping any number of underwhelming sequels under the carpet (an implication swiftly undermined, in Halloween‘s case, by the release of last year’s follow-up Halloween Kills, and the upcoming Halloween Ends, after which I’m sure they’ll definitely stop).
As a new Ghostface prepares to don the mask this week, the fifth instalment in the Scream saga is the latest to follow suit – though it does seem a shame when 5cream was right there for the taking…
25 years on from the events of the original 1996 meta-slasher, the residents of Woodsboro find themselves once again terrorised by the Ghostface killer in this new instalment – but who is behind the iconic mask this time?
Series regulars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette all return to reprise their roles, coming to the aid of a new generation of terrified teens including Melissa Barera (In the Heights) and Jack Quaid (of hit superhero series The Boys).
There are new faces behind the camera too, with directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (who scored a big critical hit with 2019’s horror comedy Ready or Not) inheriting the mantle from series originator Wes Craven, who died in 2015.
“A Scottish orchid farmer wanders through Bogotá to the accompaniment of a mysterious sonic boom that only she can hear” – on paper, it might not sound like the most enticing plot, but the presence of the great Tilda Swinton in the lead role will certainly be enough to attract many an arthouse fan to this enigmatic tale, the latest from the mind of celebrated Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Swinton plays Jessica, who awakes one morning to a strange, loud thudding noise, which follows her on her seemingly aimless journey through the Colombian capital, encountering locals including a sound technician with whom she tries to replicate the noises in her head.
It might sound a bit much two weeks into January, but glowing reviews suggest that those willing to make the trip with Swinton will reap the benefits of the film’s reflective, slow-build approach – with the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw moved to declare that “watching this film reminded me of when I was 17, hearing Revolution 9 on The White Album for the first time”. (Ask your dad, kids.)
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City Screen have a handful of further screenings of one of last year’s most acclaimed films this week, as thoughtful Japanese drama Drive My Car returns for a victory lap (Sun 16th, Mon 17th, Weds 19th).
Adapted from a short story by Haruki Marukami (its title, like Marukami’s Norwegian Wood, referencing a Beatles song), the film tells the story of a successful stage actor-director struggling to deal with the death of his wife two years earlier, and the tentative bond he forms with the young woman hired as his chauffeur.
Like Memoria, this is likely to appeal to fans of slow, subtle cinematic storytelling (apparently it takes 40 minutes before the opening credits arrive), with Variety hailing it as a “deft, wise, whisper-soft adaptation”.
An automobile-centric story of a completely different hue can be found over at Everyman in the form of heady French jaw-dropper Titane, which has a couple of further screenings this week on Mon 17th and Thurs 20th.
Everyman are also showing new historical drama Munich – The Edge of War, prior to its Netflix premiere on Fri 21st.
Based on the bestselling Robert Harris novel, it stars 1917’s George MacKay as a British civil servant involved in the desperate efforts to avoid the outbreak of war at the 1938 Munich conference; Jeremy Irons plays Neville Chamberlain, in a film which seeks to challenge the common perception of him as ‘the man who was fooled by Hitler’.
You can catch it on Sat 15th, Mon 17th and Thurs 20th.
There’s still time to see Joel Coen’s new take on Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth (Sun 16th, Tues 18th, Weds 19th) at Everyman this week too, with the regicidal plotting and scheming in this one courtesy of Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand – it’s available to view on Apple TV+ from Fri 14th as well.
Meanwhile, fans of the brilliant Pedro Almodóvar (Volver, All About My Mother) can catch a preview of the Spanish director’s latest vibrant melodrama Parallel Mothers at Everyman on Weds 19th, ahead of its general release on 28th January.
And finally, your budget family-friendly selections this week: The Boss Baby 2 is showing in both Vue’s Mini Mornings (Sat 15th/Sun 16th, £2.49) and Cineworld’s Movies For Juniors (Sat 15th/Sun 16th, £2.50), while Cineworld also have The Addams Family 2 and Ron’s Gone Wrong (both showing on Sat 15th/Sun 16th, £2.50).
Ron’s Gone Wrong is also this month’s Autism-Friendly Screening at City Screen, showing on Sun 16th (£3.00), while their Kids’ Club film this week is everyone’s favourite star-gazing litter picker, Wall-E (Sat 15th, £3.00) – a nice reminder of the time when Disney used to bother putting Pixar films in cinemas, rather than shunting them straight onto their streaming service. No really, it’s fine…